This week alone, thirteen-year-old Rajon was tortured to death by a group of men in Sylhet, seven-year-old Tikon was beaten to death by his uncle in Chittagong and Lucky Akther, a transgender, otherwise known as a „hijra“, was killed by villagers in Natun Bazar. A new video has just surfaced showing two minor girls being severely beaten at an orphanage in Barisal.

We’re disgusted, but not shocked, at the inhumanity shown by the gang of thugs captured in the video of Rajon being tied to a pole and his teenage body being brutally assaulted. We’re repulsed, but not shocked, at Tikon’s infant body being caned because he dared to leave home without permission. We are sickened, but not shocked, by the mob beating of Lucky Akther to death. We’re ashamed, but not shocked, by the incident in Barisal.

We’re outraged, but shocked we are not. Saying we’re shocked would be naïve. It would mean that child abuse in Bangladesh is an anomaly. It would mean that Rajon and Tikon’s deaths were isolated incidents. It would mean that like Lucky Akther, those belonging to marginalised „hijra“ communities are not viewed as subhuman, or as inherently criminal by Bangladeshi society. We are not shocked that all these incidents were perpetrated by able-bodied, adult men. Because in the patriarchal society and world we live in, the adult male is the default. And the rest of us are aberrations. 

Read the whole article:

Written by Nahela Nowshin, a journalist at The Daily Star


Dreaming Singapore

Nicolas Axelrod – Thomas Cristofoletti

Each year, men and women leave Aneda’s province in Indonesia in their hundreds to hire out as migrant workers– for places as varied as Kuwait, Hong Kong and Singapore. Foreign lands offer what home cannot – an escape from poverty.

But the dream of earning money abroad often goes awry. In order to leave, most take on large debts during the recruitment and training stage. These debts later create the conditions for a pliable workforce – willing to work long hours but afraid to complain about exploitative conditions.

Problems are especially acute for female domestic workers, who work in private residences and who make up the majority of Indonesia’s 6.5 million migrants. According to the ILO, up to 80 per cent of these domestic workers endure isolation, underpayment, long working hours, forced labour, human trafficing and violence.

Nicolas Axelrod – Thomas Cristofoletti

Dreaming Singapore’ investigates the movement of migrants from Indonesia to Singapore, one of the busiest migratory pathways in Southeast Asia. 

It follows three different women at various stages of their journey: from training centres in Indonesia, to daily life in Singapore, and finally the return home.

Published on RUOM, an organic collaboration between photographers, journalists, videographers, and researchers, drawn together by a passion for social documentary work.

Text: Micheal Malay

Photos: Nicolas Axelrod – Thomas Cristofoletti


Similan Islands: A Hymn for Poseidon

Grant Stirton
Grant Stirton
As a dive guide and underwater photographer you live in the water.  It’s your job to dive almost everyday, in all sorts of conditions.  While working on a live aboard dive vessel in the Similan Islands National Marine Park, off Thailand’s west coast, there was one site in particular that had it’s own personality amongst the crew.  
Named Tachai, it is a series of pinnacles, rising from the bottom over 60M deep, to near the surface, slightly offshore between the Surin Islands in the North and the Similan Islands in the South.  It’s one of the most popular stops for dive operators in the marine park and renowned for it’s marine life encounters and varying conditions.  Offshore winds and swell can make for difficult entries and exits, along with strong currents in between the pinnacles. Off the boat and down a wavering buoy line to 16m quickly, without much visual reference, is the preferred method.  Whenever we dived at the site, the whole crew was extra vigilant. 
I had the opportunity as the vessels staff photographer, to dive the area many times over the season and to witness how significantly it can change from one day to the next.  I experienced that the ocean comes alive when the weather turns, and as night approaches and learned it was a privilege we don’t often experience.  This provided an understanding of how delicate the balance is between our marine life and their environment.  The photographs are encounters and behaviors I witnessed at those times, when the currents were strong, the weather gloomy or after dark. 
Grant Stirton
Grant Stirton

The sobering news is that this region, like most of the ocean, is in serious peril.  It faces an onslaught from a number of angles – pollution, overfishing, lacking resource management, political instability.  Conservation has become a necessity.  In what took hundreds of hours and a season to capture, could have been seen on a single trip, just a decade ago.  The agreed view is that our ocean’s are approaching critical condition.  Our megafauna are vanishing – sharks, rays, turtles, tuna, along with base of the food chain, the small planktonic plants and animals, that support the system as a whole.  Climate change is fostering conditions that are causing the acidity in our oceans to increase.  

Although not visible, this change is so significant that entire eco-systems are affected and species are disappearing.  All the animals depicted rely directly on these planktonic creatures to survive.  This area attracts life because of the nutrient rich currents that rise from the deep and wash over it’s pinnacles.  They represent the result of a cycle, that begins with the sun, descending to the bottom and returning with life from the depths to nourish and sustain. 

All pictures and text by Grant Stirton. Visit his website to see more pictures:!/portfolio/C0000EqR5uPwkfqA/G0000HsWvOL0Yu_A

Grant Stirton is a Canadian photojournalist based in Toronto, specializing in underwater and adventure. He is a passionate conservationist and has focused on issues looking at how people, marine life, environments and culture intersect.

China: Around Taklamakan

© Raphaël Fournier

The province of Xinjiang (« new frontier » in chinese) is located in the far western region of China, it is the biggest province of the country and it is bordering 8 other countries such as Tajikistan and Afghanistan or India and Mongolia. Xinjiang has a long history of discord between China’s authorities and the Uighur ethnic minority. The Uighurs of Xinjiang are one of 55 minorities in China and they are ethnically and historically closer to the Muslim Turkic group of Central Asia.

© Raphaël Fournier 

As Xinjiang is a significant source of raw material and energy (40% of China’s coal), the central governement of China has been working hard on controlling and exploiting the resource rich Xinjiang by establishing a tight social, cultural and religious regulation system and by resettling millions of eastern Han chinese (the ethnic majority in China) into the wild western region of Xinjiang. It is called the « Go west » campaign.

Read the whole story on Raphaël Fournier`s website:

Raphaël Fournier: Born 1978, Paris, France. After completing a Master’s degree in linguistics, Raphaël taught French in the U.K., Hong Kong and in mainland China before turning to photography in 2008 after an internship at Time magazine photo department. He currently resides and works in Paris after several years spent in Asia and more recently a year in Turkey, two countries on which his focus remains strong. Raphaël also developped a significant interest for urban related issues and developments.